May 28, 2017

Addendum: Further Asteroid Occultation Highlights for 2013.

The January 26th path of the 106 Dione

occultation over the US SE.

(Created by the author using Google Earth).

You asked, and we answered. No sooner than our “Astronomy Top 100” hit the cyber-doorstep than we received “what about event X?” from several astute readers and lovers of the cosmos.  We love the feedback. That what makes this site tick and makes every year’s list of must-see events ever more weird and wonderful, just like the cosmos itself.

Of special interest to many were asteroid occultations; our best-of list was lovingly distilled down with a few exceptions from the Best Asteroid Occultations of 2013. To make the cut, said events had to 1). Possess a rank of 99% (the chance you would see the occultation from the center-line), 2). Be reasonably visible under dark skies from a location worldwide, and 3). Occult a star of +9th magnitude or brighter.

Well, it turns out that several “second string” events still deserve honorable mention worldwide, enough to warrant this errata sheet of the strange and curious.  What follows is a compendium of events that “didn’t make the cut” for our best of 2013 but are still interesting in their own right nonetheless. Each is linked in to more info for the serious observer ala Steve Preston’s outstanding occultation website; we’ll also give the “box score” for centerline probabilities as well. Note that the 106 Dione event is coming right up this weekend, part of the reason that we wanted to get this list out pronto, to YOU, the worldwide astronomical observing public.

Now, down to astro-business. The following additional events are of interest to the International Occultation Timing Association (IOTA) in 2013;

January 26th: 106 Dione occults a +10.2 magnitude star from 11:26-11:34UT for observers across the central US. (Rank=74)(see above diagram).

February 11th: 451 Patientia occults a +10.7 magnitude star from 6:35-7:02UT for observers across the US southwest. (Rank=99).

July 26th: 387 Aquitania occults a +9.8 magnitude star from 7:11-7:33UT for observers across the central US and Mexico. (Rank=99)

October 21st: 617 Patroclus occults a +9.6 magnitude star from 6:38-6:50UT for observers across the central US. (Rank=59)

November 26th: 134 Sophrosyne occults a +11.6 magnitude star from 10:05-10:28UT for observers across the US southwest. (Rank=99)

December 28th: 141 Lumen occults a +10.6 magnitude star from 13:13-13:36UT for the US west coast. (Rank=99)

The IOTA always welcomes data from observers of these events. If enough data is gathered, a “shadow outline” of the profile of each asteroid can be built, with each observation serving as a cord in the plot.

Also, a few other events of interest made their way to us via Guy Ottewell’s outstanding 2013 Almanac; note that while many of these include significantly brighter stars, they also have much lower ranks, which means a much higher uncertainty concerning their path;

August 6th: 302 Clarissa occults a +6.6 magnitude star for observers in Australia. (Rank=82).

September 4th: 10386 Romulus occults the +2 magnitude star Beta Ceti for observers in Southeast Asia. (Rank=10) Note that *IF* this naked eye event can be captured, it would be the brightest star to be occulted by an asteroid in 2013.

September 8th: 1465 Autonoma occults a +3.6 magnitude star for observers across Hawaii. (Rank=19)

October 11th: 2085 Henan occults a +4.4 magnitude star for observers across the southern US. (Rank=39)

December 20th: 4455 Ruriko occults a +3.8 magnitude star for observers across western Canada. (Rank=29)

December 26: 733 Mocia occults a +7.2 magnitude star for observers across North America.  (Rank=97)

Be sure to get out and watch for these events if you live on or near the predicted paths; also, it’s worth checking back on these links a few days prior as event paths can shift as predictions are refined. Occult 4.1.0 is also a great tool in helping to find an occultation path near you. And to think, only a handful of these events had been observed a few decades ago! As always, let us know of any tales triumph and tragedy as you chase down those asteroid shadows; its input from you, the reader, which fuels this grass-roots enterprise known as astronomy worldwide!



  1. [...] to watch with binoculars- check out our best prospects for asteroid occultations of stars in 2013 here and [...]

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